THE VENEZUELAN ELECTIONS OF 14 DECEMBER 1947 (ORE 65)

Created: 1/5/1948

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE IN FULL

THE VENEZUELAN ELECTIONS OF7

ORE 65

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ORE 65

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VENEZUELAN ELECTIONS OF7 SUMMARY

The economic and social reform program of lhe Accidn Democritica, the Imple^ mentation of which was begun under the Betancourt provisional Junta, was approved by the Venezuelan electorate onhe first truly democraticelection in the country's history. The overwhelming victory of the Accion Democritica, which gave it the presidency and control of both houses of Congress, not onlyrogressive and pro-US government but continues in power an active non-Communist party which can be counted on to obstruct the developmenttrong Communist movement.

the Department, of

in EnclosureofMlment of theet fcrtn

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THE VENEZUELAN ELECTIONS OF7 The election* held in Venezuela on7 reflect the chaiacler of the revolution that occurred In that country Innd confirm the view that tltc Venezuelan Government is today, for the first time, democratic both In form and ln operation.

During the two-year interval since the revolution, Venezuela has been governedunta headedolitical reformer named ROmulo Betancourt. On coming to power, this Juntarogram of economic and social reform without precedent In Venezuela's history. At the same time an intensified eflort was made to win wider popular support (atefense against counter-revolutionary movementseriod ofnil (b> to prepare thc way lor democratic electionsow liberal constitutional system, Theecember elections place the stamp of unmistakable popular approval on the course the Junta has followed, and leave the Aceidn Democratic! in complete mastery of the Venezuelan political scene

Thc democratic character of the present Venezuelan regime is Indicated by (a) the decisive popular vote of confidence it received in theecember elections, (b) the social and economic policies to which the new ROmulo Gallcgos government stands commited as the successor of thc Junta, (c) thc character of thc regime's electoral system, as revealed both by the new suffrage legislation and the peaceful and fair manner in which theecember elections were conducted.

Three of Venezuela's four major parlies ran presidential candidates In the recent election, and all four offered candidates for both houses of Congress. On the basis of approximately nine-tenths of the total vote (the other tenth is still to behe electoral verdict stands as follow*:

Aceidn

the Venezuelan system of proportional representation it is expected thatof the houses of Congress will be:

Accton Democritica

COPEI

4

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1 Completed counliics east for prcslctc-iHial candidaiesGalWn<

2

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The new Acclon DcmocrAlica president, Komulo Gallegos. will accordingly be able to count on firm congressional support lor his legislative ptogram

The social and economicf the revolutionary Junta (to aof which the newly elected Government is firmly committed) has been clearly demonstrated. Accidn Democrat tea's leaders, out of an avowed determination to makepopular" party, have deliberately sought, and won. support from all segments of the population. AD Is not,trictly working-class party, butoalition of those groups that are seeking to promote the industrialization of thc country, extensive land reforms, belter standards of living, health measures and cultural opportunities for the people; and the establishmentradition ofprocesses. The Junta's accomplishments in education, housing, in extension of the trade-union movement, in improving working conditions in the country'sconcerns, in basing taxation on ability to pay, in agrarian reform, and in the promotion of agricultural and pastoral production, attest to the progressive trend in Venezuelan public policy.

Because of post-revolutionary changes in Venezuela's electoral law and because of the impartial manner in which the Junta conducted the electoral campaign and the voting, theecember elections were Venezuela's first truly democratic national elections. This Is evidenced by (a) the unprecedently large number of persons who cast their votesw has, to all intents and purposes, universal adult suffrage, and the final ofllcial count will almost certainly show that between one million and oneuarter million persons voted, outopulation officially estimated at) and (b) thc poll involved, for the first time, direct election of all important national officials. Before the revolution, the electoral process had consistedcries of indirect elections under which the voters elected Uie city councils, the councils elected the slate legislatures; lhe state legislatures elected the Congressmen, ond Congress selected the President. The December elections were, moreover, held without violence and. according to foreign and domestic observers alike, with exemplary- honesty.

Accidn Democralica's policies, and its avowed political philosophy as well, lookapid advance in Venezuela toward political, economic, and social equality: and its enemies, especially among the elements that governed the country in the past, inisa no opportunity lo identify itradical" party andhreat to the status quo. Some go still further, and describe itisguised Communist party; but all the evidence available points to Uie conclusion that (a) it is not only non-Communist but anti-Communist, (b> It is so regarded by the Communists themselves, and (c> It has gone out ol its way to alienate any Communist support. Notwithstanding thc Accidn Democratica's anti-Communist attitude, the Communists will in allfrom excessive or militant opposition since they are in agreement with many of thc AD policies and since they reason that any alternative to AD might well be more anti-Communisl and might seek to suppress the Communist Parly or at least to curtail its activities.

The AcciOnocs not deserve Lhe Communist label Its enemies have sought to fix on It. In fact, the great popular support won by the party in the

CONc'USKNTIAL

December elections is another indication that, in the special conditions ol Latinpolitics, an active non-Communist progressive party constitutes one of the best guaranteestrong Communist movement. In foreign policy the AD is pro-US and anti-USSR.

CONFIDBNTI AL

ENCLOSURE "A"

DISSENT OF THE INTELLIGENCE DIVISION DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

The Intelligence Division, Department of the Army, does not believe thatemocratic* is at present an active non-communist party "which can be counted on to obstruct the developmenttrong Communistt is believed that Accion Democratica may cooperate with the Communists in the future if it seems expedient, as it has done in thc past. It is not believed that thc present Junta is democratic in operation nor that theecember elections place thc stamp ofpopular approval" on thc actions of Junta. It is the opinion of theDivision that the Junta has done little actually in the way of social and economic reform except on paper. It appears to the Intelligence Division that the nationalism of Accion Democraticaotential danger to United States interests inoil and that their present temperate pro-United States policy represents

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